Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Europe

Bridge to Terabithia - (ISBN: 978-0690013597)

by Katharine Paterson

Two new friends, a boy and a tomboy, create a secret kingdom after they become bored with running and other sports. As the emperor and empress of this magical place, they face challenges and solve problems together. One day tragedy strikes as one of them tries to swing across the stream on a rope to reach Terabithia. Why do you think this book has become a classic favorite among children and adults?

Comet in Moominland - (ISBN: 978-0374413316)

by Tove Janssen

The delightful Scandinavian Moomintrolls and their favorite acquaintances whimsically struggle to save themselves from a comet. The classic Moomintrolls books provide a hint of fantasy and rollicking entertainment for children of many ages. If you enjoy this book, try other Moomintroll titles by Janssen.

Escape to West Berlin - (ISBN: 978-0374309596)

by Maurine F. Dahlberg

In this story set before the building of the famous Berlin wall, it is commonplace for East Berliners to work in West Berlin, but those who do so face reprisals. Heidi’s family gradually manages to escape the East in small groups, but Heidi gets stuck in the wire fence as she tries to escape. How does she manage to get past the wall once the authorities have decided to ban further pedestrian and worker traffic to the other side?

Heidi - (ISBN: 978-0517189672)

by Johanna Spyri

Young Heidi delights in life in the Swiss mountains with her beloved grandfather and their goats. Readers will almost experience her idyllic life, eating bread and cheese for lunch and getting red cheeks from all the fresh air. When she must leave to help care for an ailing cousin, she painfully realizes what she has lost. Try to imagine what sort of life would give you the same warm feelings Heidi has for her home in the Alps.

It's All Greek to Me - (ISBN: 978-0142401163)

by Jon Scieszka

The Time Warp Trio is at it again when doing a play about Mt. Olympus. Fred, Sam, and Joe suddenly find themselves transported to Ancient Greece. In this humorous collision between consumer society and Greek monsters, the boys manage to achieve the role of mediators for the immortal -- and sometimes haughty -- Greek Gods. You’ll have great fun as you learn about the influence of the Greeks on our world today.

Linnea in Monet's Garden - (ISBN: 978-9129583144)

by Cristina Bjork

A young European girl, Linnea, visits museums in Paris and Monet’s garden at Giverny, the setting of many of his impressionist paintings. While she wonders at the paintings of water lilies, she learns hoe Monet captured light in his works and about the painter himself. Interested readers will enjoy the travel information and extra details about Monet’s life in separate sections of the book.

Lotte’s Locket - (ISBN: B000JCILIM)

by Virginia Sorensen

Ten-year-old Lotte does NOT want to move to America from Denmark, and she uses all her wiles to prevent her mother from leaving. Lotte points out all the wondrous sites of Denmark as her family travels to the ship that will take them away. Read the book to find out why the locket is so important to Lotte and her grandmother. What would you point out in your community if you were trying to persuade someone not to move away?

Markus and Diana - (ISBN: 1-932425-59-4)

by Klaus Hagerup

A Norwegian sixth grader who lacks the confidence tries to use his imagination and writing abilities to lure a famous actress to his town. Find out what happens when she actually shows up! Readers will enjoy the humorous results of Marcus’ offbeat ideas and sympathize with his woes in growing up.

Pippi Longstocking - (ISBN: 978-0142402498)

by Astrid Lindgren

What is so strange about Tommy and Annika’s new neighbor? Why do her red pigtails stick straight out? Enjoy this classic Swedish children’s book and its partner DVD about a young girl with a mind of her own.

Shadow of a Bull - (ISBN: 978-1416948308)

by Maia Wojciechowska

What can the son of a celebrated bullfighter do when he admits to himself he’s terrified of the bull ring? Try this book for a fascinating look into the Spanish world of bullfighting and a touching portrayal of a young man’s struggle to live up to his father’s reputation. Do you want to follow in your mother’s or father’s footsteps? If not, how do you tell them you want to be something different?

Skellig - (ISBN: 978-0440229087)

by David Almond

When young Michael finds a creature that’s half human and half angel in the broken-down garage of his new house, he’s not sure what to make of it. Most of his life is normal, though his baby sister is very sick and his parents remain distracted by her needs. With his new friend Mina, David gets to know Skellig and tries to understand his relationship to what’s going on in the rest of the house. How is Skellig’s flight like his baby sister’s recovery? Try to get the audio version of this book with David Almond’s precisely-accented and caring voice to get the full effect of this mix of reality and fantasy.

The Railway Children - (ISBN: 978-1587172793)

by E. Nesbit

When the family moves from a home with servants to a small cottage in the British countryside, all sorts of exciting things begin happening. The children start meeting and helping people from all walks of life, all the while wondering what has happened to their father and why they moved to the countryside. Read to solve the mystery of their father’s disappearance.

The Secret Garden - (ISBN: 978-0064401883)

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

When Mary returns to England to live with her uncle in a huge but gloomy house, she finds a wondrous garden which she shares with the mysterious Colin, a child who is so pale and weak he cannot walk. Not only does Mary help Colin find the way to health, but she also learns her personal history and opens the world to Colin’s caretaker.

The Singing Tree - (ISBN: 978-0140345438)

by Kate Seredy

What happens to a Hungarian family when war overtakes the country and the children have to take care of the farm? Talk about some times when you’ve had to do adult things and how you’ve managed to rise to the occasion.

The Turning - (ISBN: 978-0060755935)

by Gloria Whelan

Will teenage Tatiana have the daring to defect, as her friend suggests, when her Kirov Ballet troupe goes on tour to Paris? Tatiana’s family is still struggling with their political idealism, and the Russian ballet is still performing miracles. Enjoy this young woman’s dilemma set against the backdrop of her family and the cultural richness of Russian society. For other novels about the same family, see the books by Gloria Whelan in the “More Books” section.

The Wheel on the School - (ISBN: 978-0064400213)

by Meindert DeJong

A little Dutch girl, the only student in a one-room school house, yearns to have storks return to lay their eggs in the chimneys of her village as they used to. Find out how the community rallies to try and change the storks’ nesting places back to their village. Has your community done anything special for animals?

A Little Princess - (ISBN: 978-0064401876)

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Wrinkle in Time Quintet Boxed Set - (ISBN: 978-0312373511)

by Madeline L'Engle

Angel on the Square - (ISBN: 978-0064408790)

by Gloria Whelan

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl - (ISBN: 978-0553296983)

by Anne Frank


Activities for this Theme

Drag the European country to its proper place in a map game.

Listen to the beautiful sound of the Welsh language on this cd, featuring legends, stories of kings and queens, tales of magic, and underworld fantasies.

Try some basic Russian ballet exercises.

Get an overall view of the countries you’re reading about with an interactive map of Europe. Try to name the countries rolling the mouse over them.

Try other books in the Time Warp Trio series.

Learn yodeling.

Write a poem in response to one of the books you’ve read about Europe.

See if your school or public library has the computer game, “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego” for you to borrow or use there.